Buttercream Frosting Recipe




About: I work at instructables by day, and turn into a stitch witch by night. follow me on instagram @jessyratfink to see what i'm working on! ^_^

Buttercream frosting is my favorite! It's easy to make and tastes amazing. And I always have the ingredients on hand, so that's a bonus. :)

This buttercream frosting recipe makes enough to lightly cover a 9x13 cake, but you'll need to double it for 8 or 9 inch round layered cakes.

Head to the last step to find out more about making buttercream ahead of time and storing it in the fridge or freezer.

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Step 1: Ingredients

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (two sticks) butter, softened - can be salted or unsalted!
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1-2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

This buttercream frosting recipe is easily doubled and quadrupled - you'll just need a huge bowl!

For chocolate cakes or cakes that are really sweet, I love using salted butter in the frosting. I just wouldn't recommend adding salt to the mix - it can make it a little grainy.

This can be done by hand with a whisk, but your arms will probably fall off after. A cheap hand mixer really helps here!

Step 2: Beat the Butter

Beat the butter with a hand mixer until it's nice and smooth - 1-2 minutes.

Many recipes don't tell you to do this, but I find it makes the smoothest frosting if you beat all the lumps out of the butter first before adding the sugar. :)

Step 3: Add the Powdered Sugar

Add in all the powdered sugar and begin to mix it on low-medium at first.

It will look very crumbly at first - you'll need to scrape down all the butter on the sides after 30 seconds or so. After 2-3 minutes, the mixture should come together and be pretty creamy.

Step 4: Add the Vanilla and Some Cream

Add in the vanilla and a tablespoon of the cream to start. Mix for 30 seconds to so - just until it's all combined.

After mixing, check and see if the frosting is smooth enough for you - if not add the other tablespoon of cream.

Step 5: Frosting + Storing Buttercream in the Fridge and Freezer

You can use this frosting right away, or you can put it in the fridge or freezer.

If you live in a hot area (80 F room temp and up!), you should store frosted cakes in the fridge - otherwise they should be just fine on the countertop!

Above are photos showing buttercream I chilled overnight in the fridge. The first photo is it about 45 minutes after sitting on the counter - still crumbly and not coming together - the second photo is the same buttercream after two hours. Perfect! :D

storing buttercream in the fridge:

cover and store no more than a week. To thaw, set out at room temperature for a couple hours. Mix with a spatula - if it's nice and smooth you're good to go! You may need to add a little more heavy cream if it's not super smooth.

storing buttercream in the freezer:

if you want to store the buttercream in the freezer, wrap it well to keep air out to prevent freezer burn. When you're nearly ready to use it, transfer it to the fridge to thaw for a day or so, and then put it out on a countertop for a couple hours to get to room temperature. Going directly from the freezer to the countertop always goes badly for me - lots of condensation and it's never as smooth!

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10 Discussions


3 years ago

Hi Jessy, this is a classic frosting that is SO delicious & easy to decorate with because it easily takes to food coloring & is easy to use in decorating bags. It's the best! Cake is just a frosting holder, in my opinion! :)

dragon flyer

3 years ago

Good lord - I've never seen a frosting recipe with so much butter - I'm practically having a heart attack just reading about it! I just use a tablespoon or two of butter - or coconut oil if I want it to stay really white - and thin it down with milk. I suppose it's not really buttercream...

1 reply
jessyratfinkdragon flyer

Reply 3 years ago

Ha! You just have to remember you won't be eating this every day. It's a special occasion kinda thing. Butter is delicious! ;)

You can sub out some of the butter for vegetable or palm shortening, but people get riled up over that too, hah.

computer freak3

3 years ago

that looks so good the only bad thing is if i made that i would end up making buttercream popsicles n my wife would kill me...thank u


3 years ago

Yum! I suggest sifting the powdered sugar to avoid small lumps that may have formed, just in case they don't get creamed out in the process.


4 years ago on Step 5

Mmmm! Thanks! I bet this would make my buckeyes come out better, too! Creaming the salted butter first, then creaming in the peanut butter to super smooth and THEN creaming in the powdered sugar - ya reckon? I usually just mix everything all at once. And mix and mix and MIX - but it never gets as smooth as the mother-in-law's. Apparently, she was holding something back, LOL! She hates me - oh well! C'est la vie!

1 reply

4 years ago on Step 5

Buttercream frostings ARE the best! Not too sweet and yummy!

Chocolate buttercream made with dark cocoa (not the normal baking cocoa) is out of this world!

Thanks for the 'ible and spreading the love of buttercream to others who might not have tried it yet. Perfectly done!